On the first day of Israel and Hamas’ four-day ceasefire, Hamas released 24 hostages. Israeli women and children, as well as Thai farm workers, were included in these releases. The first day of this Israel-Hamas truce also saw no military action in Gaza, the first reprieve in assault and fire since Hamas’ deadly terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
According to Qatar, which remains a mediator for this temporary ceasefire deal, 13 Israeli women and children have now been freed by Hamas. Some of these releases are of dual nationality. Hamas also released 10 Thai farm workers and one Filipino.
Of the Israeli hostages, four were children who were released alongside four family members. Five elderly women were also included in the list of hostage releases.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated that the hostages were brought out of Gaza to the Rafah border crossing. Once there, they were handed over to Egyptian authorities. However, eight staff members of the ICRC were there to assist with the hostages immediately.
Israel stated that the freed hostages were immediately given a medical assessment once they returned to Israel soil. Then, they were taken to hospitals, where they were reunited with their family and loved ones.
Once Hamas released these hostages, Israel released 39 Palestinians who were in Israeli jails. This included 24 women and 15 teenagers.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the hostages and what to expect in the future.
“We have just completed the return of the first batch of our hostages,” he said. “Children, their mothers and other women. Each and every one of them is a world in itself. But I stress to you, the families, and to you, citizens of Israel: We are committed to returning all of our hostages.”
BREAKING: Pres. Biden hails cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, allowing for hostages to be released: "This deal also is structured to allow a pause to continue for more than 50 hostages to be released. That's our goal." https://t.co/4Hv12X5mQQ pic.twitter.com/f2zDI3r6fh
— ABC News (@ABC) November 24, 2023
The first day of Israel and Hamas’ temporary truce also saw 137 trucks full of humanitarian aid cross into Gaza, according to the U.N. Humanitarian Office (OCHA). This is the largest amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza in one day since Oct. 7.
War erupted between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7 after the terrorist organization Hamas infiltrated Israeli territory and killed more than 1,200 people. Hamas also took about 240 hostages on this day.
Since Oct. 7, Israel has vowed vengeance for those who were killed. Immediately, the Israeli military began to bomb and attack the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is located. As a result of this military action, more than 14,000 Gazans have been killed.
Now that the temporary truce is in place, all fire has been stopped between Israel and Hamas. According to the terms of the truce, Hamas will release 50 hostages, while Israel will release 150 Palestinians who have been detained in Israeli jails. All those released by both sides will be women and children.
However, Israel has stated that Hamas could extend the temporary truce deal, as long as they release at least 10 hostages a day. This has led many, including Arab nations and the U.N., to call for an extended ceasefire.
U.S. President Joe Biden also believes that the temporary truce can be extended, especially as Gaza continues to need more humanitarian aid. This aid can only successfully get to all parts of Gaza if there is a pause in fighting.